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Putting Gender Back on the Agenda

Many organisations are acutely aware that, in spite of all the equality legislation and the efforts made by organisations to recruit more women into the workforce, the numbers of women reaching senior positions is still pitifully low and not representative of the large numbers of women in the organisation. 

Possible reasons for the low numbers of women progressing to senior ranks:

Work/life management

Women carry the major responsibility for managing the home and if a promotion demands more hours at work, women decide for themselves that in order to maintain some kind of sanity, they will forego that next senior level position (although many organisations have introduced work/life policies, women who take up these policies can be seen as not really committed to their jobs)

RESULT

Organisations are not capitalising on the skills of many women who are likely to be working at one or two levels below their capabilities

Perceived image of successful women

As women started to progress up the career ladder they adopted a masculine approach based on the men they observed who were successful. The truth is that everyone, men and women alike, need to have access to masculine and feminine characteristics and be able to utilise them as the situation and circumstances demand. But women becoming more like men isn’t the answer - it doesn’t work for them and it doesn’t work for the organisation. Many women now refuse to adopt a personna which is alien to them. But where the culture of an organisation is based on a masculine model, maintaining their authentic foundation makes them alien within the culture they are working in.

RESULT

Where organisations do provide training for women, sometimes men and women alike see this training as remedial (women need to be separated out and reprogrammed so they can re-enter the main i.e. man stream) or they decide that men and women are equal and women-only programmes are unnecessary. In both cases women remain unsupported in accessing and working from their authentic power base and so are unable to contribute fully to organisational performance and success.

Continuing impact of gender conditioning

Much has been written about the impact of gender conditioning on women and on men. I would suggest that the effects that have the most impact on organisational performance are: low self esteem (women not feeling good enough); invisibility (women not being comfortable putting themselves forward); high stress levels (caused by never ending guilt, especially for working mothers)

RESULT

Organisations which are committed to supporting women to operate at their highest levels so that the organisation can benefit from their input, don’t know how to combat gender conditioning or raise self-esteem or reduce stress levels.

 

Geraldine has been committed to working with women at all levels in the organisation for almost 30 years. See her Powerful Woman website for details of her work.

** COMING SOON **

Two ebooks for women about how to step into your power. 

A new App to help women to maintain inner balance, be more visible and valued at work and direct their lives from a more powerful place.

An ebook for women to help them in their journey to become an authentic leader.

PLUS - The DIAMOND EDGE 4 day leadership programme for senior women executives and leaders, held in Connemara, Ireland and Minneapolis USA. For more details of that click here.

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